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What causes a tooth to become impacted?

An impacted tooth is not something an individual can control. During the growth period of our teeth, there are factors that dictate the amount of space each tooth has to grow. But if one of our teeth does not grow correctly, seeing your dentist at Las Colinas dental can offer you a solution.

Basically an impacted tooth is one that did not erupt or push through the gum tissue. It could be that jaw space was not adequate for all teeth to grow correctly. Or a tooth started growing at an angle, and continued that path growing sideways.

For most of us, the teeth that are most likely to become impacted are our third molars or wisdom teeth as they are most commonly known. Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, and usually don’t grow in until late teens. By this time, most of our adult teeth are set in place and there may not be enough space for all four wisdom teeth to erupt properly.

When one or possibly all four of the wisdom teeth start growing, if jaw space is limited the new teeth can become impacted. Generally this does not pose any problems. But an impacted tooth can possibly push on its neighbor, which can push on the next tooth and so on. When this happens, teeth can move out of proper alignment creating bite issues and aesthetic problems due to an over bite, under bite, or cross bite.

It is possible that you could have an impacted tooth, and not even be aware of it. For many, there are no apparent symptoms, and dental x-rays are the only testament that the impacted teeth exist.

However, it is possible that impacted teeth can develop complications like dental decay, or trapped food causing bacteria to grow. The result can be chronic bad breath or a more serious problem such as an infection.

An impacted tooth is nothing to cause concern unless complications result. Removing an impacted tooth ordinarily means a trip to the oral surgeon, but once removed there are no further problems and your dental future is bright without it.

Twice yearly visits to our dentists for a professional cleaning and exam will allow you to stay informed about the possibility of any impacted teeth and the best solution to handle them. Call 972-556-0900 to schedule an appointment.